Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6 difference – which has better GPS map?

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6 difference

Which smartwatch has accurate GPS map – Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6? Full color, onboard maps guide you on your run so you never get lost during your workout. The Forerunner 945 and Fenix 6 running watches let you sync with premium music services to put your songs on your wrist when paired with a compatible smartphone (may require premium subscription). It also offers our most advanced physiological features, including training load balance and more. Which one should you buy – Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6?

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Pros & Cons – Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6

Garmin Forerunner 945

Pros
  • Offline music
  • GPS, HRM, NFC
  • Advanced training metrics
  • Activity/sleep tracking
  • Full-color mapping
  • Garmin Pay & onboard music
  • Long battery life
  • Quick recharge
  • Seamless syncing with app
  • Accurate sensors
Cons
  • Rugged design
  • Iffy swim tracking

Garmin Fenix 6

Pros

  • Fantastic battery life
  • Many sports tracking options
  • Versatile feature set
  • PacePro is hugely helpful for training

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Heart rate readings can be off

Specs – Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6

Garmin Forerunner 945

  • 22mm ichangeable straps
  • Waterproof to 50 metres
  • Physical size: 47 x 47 x 13.7 mm
  • Colour display
  • Display size: 1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter
  • Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
  • Display type: sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
  • Weight: 50 g
  • Battery life:
    • Smartwatch mode: up to 2 weeks
    • GPS mode with music: up to 10 hours
    • GPS mode without music: Up to 36 hours
  • Water rating: 5 ATM
  • Memory/history: 200 hours of activity data
  • Sensors:
    • GPS
    • GLONASS
    • Galileo
    • Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor
    • Barometric altimeter
    • Compass
    • Gyroscope
    • Accelerometer
    • Thermometer
    • Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor

Garmin Fenix 6

  • From $599
  • Available in 6 and 6 Pro models
  • 47mm case
  • 1.3 inch, 240 x 240 display
  • Available with steel, titanium bezel
  • Interchangeable 22mm bands
  • Up to 36 hours GPS battery
  • Includes Pulse Ox sensor
  • Waterproof up to 100m
  • 24/7 activity tracking
  • Multisport profiles
  • PacePro running feature
  • Battery saver mode

Key features

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Compass
  • Thermometer
  • Garmin Pay
  • Downloadable Music
  • Alarms
  • Several activity profiles
  • Pedometer and calories burned
  • Barometer
  • Altimeter
  • Sunrise/Sunset information
  • Breadcrumb navigation + topo maps
  • Course creation and upload options
  • Customizable watch faces

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6 Price

Thankfully, it can sometimes be found at a reduced price from some retailers. In the US for example it was recently available for $490. That would put it at roughly $100 less than the Garmin Fenix 6 and $100 more than the Garmin Forerunner 935.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 launched in April 2019 for $599.99/£519.99/AU$949. That’s a lot of money for a sports watch, but you’re paying for the whole gamut of Garmin features here, all wrapped up in a powerful GPS watch.

The Garmin Fenix 6 comes in multiple flavors and price points, so we’ll just break them down here first.

  • Garmin Fenix 6/Pro/Pro Solar – The standard 47mm version, adds music, Wi-Fi, maps – $599/$699/$849.99
  • Garmin Fenix 6S/Pro/Pro Solar – A smaller 42mm case with slightly lower battery life, adds music, Wi-Fi, maps – $599/$699/$849.99
  • Garmin Fenix 6X – Bigger screen, slightly better battery, music, Wi-Fi, maps as standard – $749
  • Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar – Solar panels for extra battery life, music, Wi-Fi, maps as standard – $1149

Compare Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6 Pro

Specs/ModelsGramin Fenix 6 ProGarmin Forerunner 945
Lens materialCorning Gorilla Glass DX or Sapphire CrystalCorning Gorilla Glass DX
Strap materialfiber-reinforced polymer with metal rear coversilicone
Physical size, mm47 x 47 x 14.747 x 47 x 13.7
Display size1.31.2
Resolution260 x 260240 x 240
Display typesunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixelsunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel
Battery lifeup to 14 daysup to 2 weeks
NFCYesYes
GPSYesYes
BluetoothYesYes
Wi-FiYesYes
Garmin PayYesYes
Memory32GB200 hours of activity data
Water rating, ATM105
Pulse OximetryYesYes
CompassYesYes
AccelerometerYesYes
GyroscopeYesYes
ThermometerYesYes
Music storageup to 2,000 songsup to 1000 songs
Text response/Reject phone call with textYesYes
CompatibilityiPhone, AndroidiPhone, Android
Weight, g83g50g

What are the key differences – Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6?

Design

Garmin Forerunner 945 only comes in one case size (47 x 47 x 13.7mm) and two colors (black with a black strap, or black with a blue strap). The 945 sticks to a more Garmin-traditional, rugged design. 

Fenix 6 was launched in 3 case sizes; 42mm was called the Fenix 6S, 47mm was called the Fenix 6 and the 51mm one was called Fenix 6X. 

Lightweight

At 50g the Forerunner 945 is light enough, and overall not uncomfortable to wear.

Whether you go regular Gramin Fenix 6, pro or solar, it weighs in 83g for the steel version or 72g with a titanium case to make it lighter than the Fenix 5 

Buttons & Control

Garmin Forerunner 945

You’ve got five buttons around the screen, three on the left and two on the right, all necessary for navigating the UI and each giving a satisfying click. There’s no touchscreen here, and having spent too much time dragging sweaty fingers across them on other watches, we’re fine with Garmin’s decision to ditch the touchscreen altogether. 

Garmin Fenix 6

The buttons feel subtly more premium too, and at last the Fenix 6 doesn’t feel like a beast on the wrist and will suit a variety of wrist sizes and shapes.

Screen

Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin uses a transflective display technology for that 1.2-inch screen, which has the effect of making it more visible in sunlight. It’s not the highest resolution, with just 240 x 240 pixels, but it’s more than sufficient to read the contents on the screen. There’s a backlight too, which can be turned on with a push of the top-left button, or automatically with a turn of the wrist, though by default that’s only set for workouts.

Garmin Fenix 6

The resolution is quite low too at 260×260 (Fenix 6) and 240×240 (Fenix 6S). This also comes as a hurdle in making it a touch screen. 

GPS

Garmin Forerunner 945 is loaded with everything you’d want in a fully-featured GPS watch, including access to Garmin’s robust ecosystem of app integrations, challenges, downloadable workouts, and more. GPS tracking, full navigational capabilities, layered and preloaded maps, course creation, Garmin Pay, and downloadable music. 

The Fenix 6 is still lacking as a proper mapping experience. When out on an activity you can navigate to a map of your surroundings, to add a little context to what’s around you. It’s basic stuff though, which shows major trails and roads, but doesn’t have the full detail of an Ordnance Survey map, and isn’t too helpful when really off the beaten track.

Training progress

In Garmin Forerunner 945, the Training Status and Training Effect features will tell you how productive your workouts are, the effect they’re having. Performance Condition, meanwhile, works during an activity and takes your VO2 max score as its baseline and tells you how your current workout compares. While out running the other day, the 945 alerted us that we were performing at a -3, which was a little discouraging, especially as we’d only made it 1km into our route at the time.

Fenix 6. For example, there is no option for trail running, open water swimming, or surfing (which are some of my most common workouts), and there isn’t really a good reason why. 

Battery life & charging

The USB charging cable is 0.5m. Garmin sell spare 0.5m and 1m cables. Regular GPS (with smartwatch mode) is purported to last 36 hours without music and 10 hours with music. We measured charging time to be only 75 minutes. With these metrics in mind, the measured amount of battery life we got was a little lower than these claims — especially with use over time.

Fenix 6 can last for 14 days while the 6S lasts for 9.

Similarities – Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6

Build

The build quality is sublime. it is actually a combination of a ‘fibre-reinforced polymer’ case and Corning Gorilla Glass DX lens. The silicone strap, which is hinged at the watch face, is perfectly flexible and very comfortable. It’s designed to a fit wrists with a circumference of 130-220 mm. 

Sports

It has added metrics on heat and altitude acclimation and training load focus. Heat and altitude are now used in determining the difficulty of a run, as rising temperatures and altitude both put additional strain on the body. This allows the statistics on effort to be accurately adjusted versus the influence of other factors.  

Heart rate

Heart rate accuracy is also good in the realm of optical heart rate sensors. The sensor on the 945 is raised slightly from the bezel with a good connection on most wrists. It’s relatively flat and doesn’t press into the skin either. When it flashes green, you know it’s measuring heart rate. It had amazing accuracy during our sitting tests with a variation from the actual heart rate of just 0 – 4 bpm.

Offline Music

This was my favorite feature of the Forerunner 945 compared with the older model, as I love to run with music but don’t like to carry my phone with me. If you have a Deezer or Spotify subscription, you can download playlists to the 945 and play them, without a phone present. 

Fenix 6.is capable of controlling the music on your phone but there is no physical storage for music. 

Payments

One more thing you can leave at home: your wallet. The Forerunner 945 is one of the few Garmin smartwatches that supports mobile payments. (The others are the Vivoactive, 600- and the Fenix series.) Garmin Pay works at places where Apple Pay and Google Pay are accepted.

Stress tracking

Hectic moments and stressful feelings can be instantly seen on the wrist, if you head to the stress widget, and it kicks out a live score, as well as showing peaks over the 24 hours.

The sensitivity means the daily stress score is now of more interest, and it’s worth keeping an eye out for high numbers. It’s also linked directly to the Garmin breathwork feature, so you can undertake some guided breathing if you need to.

Sleep tracking

Sleep tracking is one of the best in Garmin watches. Garmin provides a lot of data when it comes to your sleep tracking. The features are identical in both the Venu 2 and Fenix 6. At the end of each sleep cycle, you receive a sleep score on the basis of the quality of your sleep, how many times you woke up in your sleep, restlessness, total duration of sleep, time of sleep, etc. A welcome feature for those having trouble organizing their sleep schedule. 

Garmin IQ app

For as much as the Forerunner 945 can do, the out-of-box setup is surprisingly easy. It comes partially charged, and getting started is a matter of downloading the Garmin Connect app, answering a few basic questions, and pairing it with the watch, all of which take less than 10 minutes.

The only part of the setup that’s not intuitive is customizing the data fields within a particular activity like running, which was my first priority. The pre-set displays were fine, but I wanted some metrics (such as distance, pace, and average pace) to be featured more prominently than others. YouTube did me right, as usual, and after just a few minutes of watching and tinkering, my running data fields were exactly how I like them.

There’s also the option of downloading entirely new watch faces and activity fields through a second app (Connect IQ Store), which the data junkies out there will surely love. Personally, though, I don’t want more apps than I absolutely need, and most of the customized options I looked at had too much going on for my taste anyways.

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs Fenix 6 alternative

Coros Vertix 2 GPS Adventure Watch

Pros
  • Massive battery
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Color topographical maps
Cons
  • Expensive

The biggest feature of the Vertix 2 is the use of “dual-frequency” and ability to ping five satellite systems. Modern GPS running watches have gotten remarkably accurate, with very few truly errant track points.


Coros distinguishes itself from other watch makers by its nearly endless battery life. Every model seems to last longer than its rivals. The Vertix 2 is no exception, with a battery that will go an astonishing 140 hours (up from 60 hours in the first version of this watch). You can further stretch its life by sampling your geolocation less frequently, and get up to 240 hours of use—realistic only for hikers and multi-day ultrarunners.

Coros’s use of dual-frequency is a first for running watches. It works by looking at two different radio signals that a satellite sends and then filters out any that may have bounced off a tree or tall building (which leads to an error in where it thinks you are on the globe). The expected result is a track that follows your actual route much more closely than watches without this functionality.

In testing, we found our path still wobbled slightly and cut corners, and the final distance was never more than a few hundredths of a mile different from a Garmin Fenix 6X Pro or Enduro. But, in truly tricky situations, like heavy tree cover and cities with skyscrapers, it can help ensure your data is more accurate.

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